Philip John Dale
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 220 lb.
- School Georgia Southern College
Phil Dale has had a long career in baseball. He was the first Australian to get a 4-year baseball scholarship to an American university. He was a pitcher for the Australian national team. He spent 4 seasons in the minor leagues, reaching AA. Dale then became one of the top stars of the Australian Baseball League, winning the MVP award once and setting several records. He went into scouting and coaching after that, including being the pitching coach for a Silver Medal-winning Australian Olympic squad.
Dale pitched for Australia in the 1982 Amateur World Series. He came to the USA and pitched for Georgia Southern, the first Australian baseball player to win a 4-year scholarship to a USA college. He was undrafted but signed a contract with the Cincinnati Reds. He debuted in their system in 1985, going 2-2 with 7 saves and a 0.89 ERA in 15 games for the GCL Reds. He tied John Tanner for the Gulf Coast League lead in saves and made the league All-Star team. Promoted to the Tampa Tarpons, he was 2-1 with a 2.20 ERA in 10 games.
Phil was with Tampa for all of 1986, going 5-4 with 3 saves and a 2.80 ERA in 36 games. In '87, Dale was 4-4 with 12 saves in 46 games for the Cedar Rapids Reds, posting a 2.95 ERA. He concluded his minor league career in 1988, when he had a 4-10, 4.30 record in 30 outings (12 starts). He finished his Organized Baseball career with a pederstrian 17-21 record, not indicative of how he would do better than a fair number of future major leaguers in Australia.
Dale worked as a minor league coach in the Reds and Atlanta Braves chain following the end of his playing career in the USA. Back in Australia, he became a superstar.
When the Australian Baseball League was founded in 1989-1990, Dale was manager of the Waverley Reds. He not only managed them to the pennant, but he also was 9-2 with a 1.44 ERA and .92 WHIP. He led the league in ERA by .77, led in wins and was third in strikeouts (64, 6 shy of Carl Grovom), just missing a pitching Triple Crown. He picked up an even rarer Triple Crown, though, winning honors as Pitcher of the Year, Most Valuable Player AND Manager of the Year.
Dale fell to 7-3, 3.18 in the 1990-1991 Australian Baseball League. He tied for the most complete games (4), tied for 3rd in wins and had the best K:BB ratio (3.818:1). Phil went 7-3 with a 2.12 ERA in 1991-1992 with only 19 walks and one homer allowed in 89 1/3 innings. He was second to Adrian Meagher in ERA, 4th in innings, first in complete games (8) and tied for 5th in wins.
In 1992-1993, the 30-year-old hurler posted a 3-5, 7 Sv, 2.47 record while moving primarily to the bullpen. He tied for third in the league in appearances (22) and was third in saves. He won Manager of the Year honors and was the 2nd-team All-Star relief pitcher.
Dale went 4-5 with five saves and a 2.72 ERA in 1993-1994, giving up only one homer in 56 1/3 innings. He finished third in the Australian Baseball League in games saved. In the 1994-1995 ABL, he returned to starting duties primarily while giving up managing for the first time and went 12-2 with 2 saves; in 101 innings, he walked only 19. He was second to Jesus Martinez in ERA, second to David White in innings, tied with White for the most complete games (11), tied with Dirk Blair for the most wins and second to White in K:BB ratio. He won Pitcher of the Year honors for the second time, then picked up the championship round MVP award as the Reds won their second pennant. He tossed a 4-hitter against the Perth Heat in the clincher.
The Melbourne native fell to 4-5 with 3 saves, a 4.46 ERA and a .291 opponent average in 1995-1996. He jumped to the crosstown Melbourne Monarchs following that campaign. In the 1996-1997 ABL, the veteran hurler posted a 9-7, 3.70 record. In 104 2/3 innings, he fanned 85 and walked 16. He led the league in complete games (10), was third in strikeouts (7 behind leader Kevin Millwood), tied with Brandon Reed for the most wins and led in K:BB ratio, as his 5.31:1 was well ahead of the runner-up's 3.73:1 and Reed's 2.7:1. He was named the second-team All-Star starting pitcher behind Kevin Millwood. He went 1-0 with a 2.13 ERA in the 1997 Intercontinental Cup, leading the Australian staff's regulars in ERA.
In the 1997-1998 Australian Baseball League, the old-timer was 8-3 with a 4.03 ERA; in 109 1/3 innings, he struck out 95 and walked 19. He led the ABL in complete games (9), innings pitched and strikeouts (11 ahead of runner-up Shayne Bennett). He tied Brent Iddon for the most victories and was second to Bennett in K:BB ratio. He was 6th in ERA.
Dale pitched for Australia in the 1998 Baseball World Cup, going 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA. He allowed 27 hits in 17 innings. He was just below average on the Aussie team in ERA.
During the 1998-1999 ABL campaign, Dale went 2-4 with a save and a 4.56 ERA for the Monarchs to conclude his playing career.
Career Stats in Australia
Dale was 65-39 with 18 saves and a 3.19 ERA in a decade in the Australian Baseball League. He walked only 141 in 792 1/3 innings while striking out 553. He completed 58 of 102 starts. Dale was 5th all-time in the ABL in ERA, .10 ahead of big leaguer Pat Ahearne and .28 ahead of another big leaguer, Shayne Bennett. He ranked 1st all-time in innings (204 2/3 ahead of David White), third in games pitched (behind Bob Nilsson and Graham Cassel), first in wins (17 ahead of David White), 1st in losses (only one ahead of White), 6th in saves, 1st in hits allowed (795, 130 ahead of White), 2nd in runs allowed (330, 41 behind White despite significantly more innings), 1st in strikeouts (133 ahead of Meagher) and 1st in complete games (18 ahead of White, 39 ahead of anyone else).
As another decade began, Dale found himself in a new role once more, that of coach for the Australian national team. He held that position in the 2000 Olympics, 2001 Baseball World Cup, 2004 Olympics (when Australia won Silver and pitcher Chris Oxspring earned IBAF Athlete of the Year honors), 2005 Baseball World Cup, 2006 World Baseball Classic, 2006 Intercontinental Cup, 2007 Baseball World Cup, 2008 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament, 2009 World Baseball Classic, 2009 Baseball World Cup, 2011 Baseball World Cup, 2013 World Baseball Classic and 2017 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers.
When not working with the national team of his homeland, Dale is an active scout. He has been the Eastern Rim scouting coordinator for the Atlanta Braves for several years, covering South Korea and Taiwan in addition to Australia. He signed Sung-ki Jung, Jon Kennedy, Matt Kennelly, Steven Kent, James Linger, Andrew Russell and Meng-Hsiu Tsai.
In 2005, he was inducted into the Baseball Australia Hall of Fame as part of the initial class.